What is Sports Medicine?
If you have suffered a sports injury, you may be wondering
where you can receive the best treatment. Here at Valley Sports Physicians &
Orthopedic Medicine we serve patients from Hartford, Avon and New Haven, CT. If
you are suffering from problems such as Achilles tendon injuries, bursitis, cartilage
injuries, golfer’s elbow, knee injuries or any other sports related issues, we
can help you with our non-surgical treatment methods. Read on to understand more
about sports medicine in general, our physicians and our doctors’ osteopathic
approach to sports medicine.
medicine is that branch of the healing arts profession that utilizes an
integrated, comprehensive approach to the prevention, diagnosis, and
management of sport- and exercise-related injuries, disorders,
dysfunctions, and disease processes.
Yet sports medicine is
more than just physical therapy, a knee brace, a cortisone injection,
or arthroscopic surgery. While all of these may be important, sports
medicine involves knowing not only the athlete but also the sport. What
are the demands placed on the athlete's body by a given sport? What
specific skills are required to perform a sport? And how does the body
respond to these demands and required skills? Knowing this is crucial
to understanding not only how injuries occur but also to knowing what
the best way to treat them is.
Athletes have medical needs
also. Asthma, diabetes, and other medical conditions affect athletes as
well as the non-athlete. Yet the athlete often needs special treatment
because of the demands he or she places on the body. Physical
therapists, chiropractors, and surgeons are not trained to manage these
aspects of sports medicine.
What is a Sports Medicine Physician?
field of sports medicine consists of health care providers who work in
synchrony to provide a “team approach” to achieve better health for the
patient. At the head of this team of professionals is the physician who
diagnoses the condition and directs the treatment plan.
doctor can claim to do "sports medicine," but only physicians specially
trained in sports medicine are uniquely qualified truly to practice
The evolving standard for sports medicine
training is completion of a sports medicine fellowship. A fellowship is
a specialized training program completed only after the physician has
already done an internship and residency. For example, to become a
cardiologist, you first complete a residency in internal medicine, and
then you would do a fellowship in cardiology. The same is now true for
sports medicine. While there may be many good sports medicine
physicians who have not done fellowships, completion of a sports
medicine fellowship assures you that the doctor has undertaken a
comprehensive and advanced level of specialty training.
addition, you would also want a physician who is an active member of
one of the large national sports medicine organizations. These include:
are two types of sports medicine physicians: surgeons and non-surgeons.
There are also two different types of sports medicine fellowships:
surgical and non-surgical (also known as "primary care" fellowships).
No surprise here-- surgeons do surgical fellowships, and non-surgeons
do primary care fellowships!
Surgical fellows learn the
latest and greatest in surgical techniques. Primary care fellows learn
everything else! Since over 90% of sports injuries don't require
surgery, more and more people—and an increasing number of college and
professional teams—are turning to primary care sports medicine
specialists. If your problem needs surgery you can always be referred
to a surgeon. But if surgery is not indicated—or desired—you will
generally be better served by a primary care sports medicine specialist.
a downloadable PDF file giving a complete definition of a Team
Physician, including qualifications, duties, and education, click Team Physician Consensus Statement. This Statement was prepared and adopted by the major national sports medicine organizations.
Dr. Tortland is fellowship trained
and board certified in Primary Care Sports Medicine. Together with his Physician's Assistant, Rebekah Lehtonen, and our staff of Athletic Trainers, we have the training, skills, and experience
to help you with your sports medicine problem.
Osteopathic Approach to Sports Medicine
Osteopathic physician has a unique role in the total care of the
athlete or active patient. Our philosophic approach is patient-, not
disease-oriented. This philosophic approach lends itself to the active
population, because athletic patients are generally healthy and more
motivated to return to better health. Osteopathic sports physicians
apply their medical and scientific knowledge based on a philosophy that
the athlete’s structure and function are interrelated (see Osteopathic Medicine).
Osteopathic physicians must look at the entire scope of an athlete’s
problem, including the mechanism of injury, environmental influences,
inherent postural and muscle imbalances, the psychological effects of
injury and rehabilitation, and finally their safe return to play.
palpatory skills (using the hands to help diagnose) provide Osteopathic
physicians with a distinct advantage over other health care
practitioners in determining the location, extent, and associated
manifestations of athletic injury. The Osteopathic philosophy helps us
to consider and identify subtle biomechanical factors that can often
lead to chronic or recurrent injury. In addition Osteopathic physicians
who effectively utilize Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, have another
"tool in the toolbox" with which to treat an important component of
athletic injury - somatic dysfunction.
History of Osteopathic Sports Medicine
have been athletes since ancient times and physicians have been caring
for them all along the way. Herodicus was a Thracian physician of the
fifth century BC. The first use of therapeutic exercise for the
treatment of disease and maintenance of health is credited to him, and
he is believed to have been one of the tutors of Hippocrates, with whom
he supervised the training and care of Olympic athletes. He also
recommended good diet and massage using beneficial herbs and oils, and
his theories are considered the foundation of sports medicine. The
first man to be called a “team physician” was Galen, in the second
century AD, when he served as the physician to the Roman gladiators.
A.T. Still, MD (founder of Osteopathic Medicine)
in the 1800’s taught the importance of structure and function and the
significance of the musculoskeletal system in the maintenance of
health. It should surprise no one, that Still and the administration of
American School of Osteopathy, encouraged new students, both men and
women, to join Athletic Associations. Professional and collegiate
sports were just becoming popular at the turn of the 19th century. As
Still's reputation grew as a highly skilled practitioner in providing
relief of sprains, strains, and dislocations, many injured athletes
came to him to be treated. Accordingly, Dr. Still became known as a
pioneer in sports medicine.
In 1901 the first athletic
director was named at the American School of Osteopathy (ASO) while
both intramural and intercollegiate sports, including football,
baseball, and basketball, prevailed in Kirksville, MO. The ASO teams
were charter members of the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic
Association. The Osteopaths, as they were known, took on major
universities including Notre Dame and Nebraska. ASO teams were often
very good and gained so much reputation for the school that many famous
athletes later came back to attend. The osteopathic physician, Forrest
"Phog" Allen, DO (1885-1974), the Hall-of-Fame coach whose Kansas
Basketball teams won 771 games during his long career, is probably the
best-known sports figure to attend ASO.